The Haunted Decatur House
Stephen Decatur moved to Washington with his wife in 1818 after the war ended. He was admired and even considered a presidential hopeful, but unfortunately for him, in 1807 he had served on the court martial board of his friend, Commodore James Barron. Decatur has agreed with the rest of the board that Barron should be court martialled, starting a fed that ended in Decatur's death at Barron's hands during a duel 13 years later in Bladensburg, Maryland. On March 14, 1820, the morning of the duel, Decatur was mortally wounded and taken home to die. His wife was so broken hearted she could not bring herself to look at him or to live in the house after he had died.
A year later after his death his apparition was allegedly seen looking sadly from the window where he stood on the eve of his death. Due to the number of reports of this apparition, the window was walled up but this did not stop the ghost from returning. Later sounds of a woman weeping, said to be Susan Decatur, were
Residents of Washington DC report seeing Decatur's spirit peering out of the second story window or slipping out the back door of his house with a black box under his arm, just as he had done on that fateful day of the duel. So many witnesses also continue to see the specter of Decatur, that the window was eventually walled up. Other people have also claimed that they can hear his widow, who became hysterical at his death, weeping in the house.
Today, the Decatur House does not offer routine tours, but only on special occassions. They do offer the Carriage House, Courtyard and Entertaining Parlors for private events that can accommodate small, intimate gatherings or large functions with equal ease and comfort.
The Decatur House
1610 H St NW,
Washington, DC 20006
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